Foresters, KaBOOM! & Volunteers Encourage Quality Family Time by Building New Playground for Aldine Children

Child-Designed Playground will Eventually Serve 15,000 Children and their Families

HOUSTON, May 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Children in North Houston received a brand new playground today thanks to the effort of more than 200 volunteers from ForestersTM, a life insurance provider committed to the well-being of families, the Aldine Independent School District and non-profit KaBOOM!. The new playground will serve 15,000 children and their families in the local community for years to come.  Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in March when local children and community leaders met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Foresters to design their dream playground. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground design.

"Foresters shares its financial strength with its members and communities where they live, such as Houston," said Bruce Burak Foresters National Sales Manager. "Playgrounds are an ideal place for families to get to know other families and build strong communities.  This new playground at Carter Academy will provide opportunities families to spend quality time together for years to come."

Foresters has invested over $3 million with KaBOOM! to build 36 playgrounds across North America since 2006. These playgrounds will eventually serve more than 575,000 children, providing them and their families with a place where they can play, learn and have fun together.

The playground at Carter Academy will provide 15,000 children and their families in the local community with a great place to play and engage in healthy family time. In less than eight hours, the child-designed playground was built from scratch by hundreds of volunteers from Foresters, Aldine Independent School District and the surrounding community. In addition, children and families spent the day playing games and participating in arts and crafts activities.

"We continue to strive to create a campus that provides for the needs of its students and the community members in our area," said Lee Wold, the Building Principal. "Our focus has been, and will continue to be based upon the belief that we will do whatever is necessary to promote a positive relationship with all of our stakeholders."

Thanks to the work of Foresters, Aldine Independent School District and KaBOOM!, children and their families now have a 2,500 square-foot playground to call home that includes features such as Sky Swivels, a Solar Climber and a Zigzag Slide.

About Carter Academy/Aldine Independent School District
The Aldine Independent School District is a school district in located in the northern portion of Harris County.  The district serves the diverse needs of its community with pride and excellence. Aldine ISD offers a magnet program that includes 21 different academies with themes that include Performing Arts, Science and Engineering, International Baccalaureate, Foreign Languages, and many more. In 2009, Aldine won the distinguished Broad Prize for Urban Education and was a finalist in the years 2004, 2005, and 2008. In 2008, Aldine was awarded the H-E-B Excellence in Education award.

The Lola Mae Carter Academy for the Performing Arts is part of the magnet program in Aldine Independent School District. When you walk into this building you will hear singing, talking, and laughter. Carter Academy is a school that knows the needs of its individual community and rises to meet those needs. Our students and staff have earned a "Recognized" rating from the Texas Education Agency every year since 2003. Carter also garnered the highest rating that can be achieved by earning an "Exemplary" rating for the 2008 - 2009 school year. The teachers and staff are consistently and constantly committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure each of our students leaves our elementary campus prepared to be contributing members of society as well as with the expectation to enter a four year college upon graduation from high school. At Carter Academy our motto is: "Writing success stories…one student at a time, for every one of our students! Failure is not an option!"

About Foresters
Founded in 1874 as a fraternal benefit society, ForestersTM champions the well-being of families through quality life insurance, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities.  Foresters shares its financial strength with more than 835,000ˆ members in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Unity Life of Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Foresters, represents Foresters in Canada. For more information, please visit www.foresters.com.

ForestersTM is a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9.
ˆIncludes total number of UK Child Trust accounts
Unity Life of Canada, a Foresters company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Independent Order of Foresters

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. To fight this Play Deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! 15 years ago in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 85,000 places to play, built almost 2,000 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

SOURCE Foresters

For further information:

Mike Keeney, Aldine ISD Public Information Office, 281-985-6213, mkeeney@aldine.k12.tx.us
Ryan Jones, Foresters, 1-800-461-8431 x4096, rjones@foresters.com
Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, 785-320-2137, mvietti@kaboom.org

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